Open, Appropriate Communications

Face-to-face communications build trust. SMFG’s community and external relations are based on regular visits to communities and local authorities at all levels, including officials as well as religious and traditional authorities.

Whether through formal meetings or informal dialogue, the company seeks a climate where people can communicate their perspectives, suggestions, questions and complaints openly and without fear, in whatever language they prefer. SMFG’s community relations team is composed of people from Guinée Forestière, knowledgeable of local traditions, values, authority structures, protocols and communications. Communications frequently occur by telephone, too. SMFG has a open ‘hotline’ for anyone to ring in whatever language the person prefers, to ask questions, make a complaint or provide information. The hotline’s number is widely posted in surrounding villages.

Accessing SMFG

Because most of SMFG’s operations occur on the mountains, far from local residents, the company established an office in Lola Centre to be an easily accessible point of contact.

To show local people what it is doing on the mountain, SMFG regularly hosts visits by local representative groups to visit its operations. When they return to their communities, they are able to explain what they have seen and experienced first-hand.

Bulletin Boards, Post-Boxes and Grievance Mechanism

SMFG has bulletin boards installed in larger villages in the surrounding area, as well as several in Lola City and at the Governorate’s offices in N’Zérékoré.

The company posts key information about the project including updates, recruitments and recruiting procedures, tenders and other opportunities, contact information and the company’s grievance procedure. Bulletin boards have secure letter boxes attached where the public can leave questions, job applications, complaints, suggestions or any other communication.

Recruitments

Because of the keen interest in employment, SMFG’s Community Relations team ensures recruitments are announced widely and transparently, whether for unskilled labourers or skilled roles.

Working with the company’s Human Resources Department and local authorities, the team ensures that selection procedures are clear: selection of posts occurs according to strict, merit-based criteria where no individual manager or staff involved in recruiting can determine a hiring decision. The use of transparent selection processes, panels with multiple interviewers, and background checks helps ensure that jobs are not allocated inappropriately.

NOTE:  SMFG manages all its recruitments itself, and does not use agencies.  SMFG never requires a fee for submitting an application.  Anyone saying otherwise does not represent SMFG.

SMFG’s Newsletter and Facebook

Every two months SMFG publishes a newsletter, Nimba Info, in French and English, that the company distributes to its staff, local authorities and media, and posts on bulletin boards.

Nimba Info focuses on stories about SMFG’s workforce’s activities including environmental and social studies, visits by national and international VIPs, safety topics, the company’s recruitment policies and procedures, development support the company provides to local communities, and news about SMFG’s staff. Click here for issues of Nimba Info.

SMFG plans to launch a French-language Facebook page in 2021 for everyday Project updates of general interest to the Guinean public.

Intercultural Training

SMFG provides training on intercultural understanding, aimed at employees and contractors interacting frequently with the local population. When working in local villages’ land, the company always seeks to identify and protect sacred sites. This has been extensively addressed in baseline studies during the ESIA, too.

Grievance Mechanism

Grievance Mechanism

SMFG’s grievance mechanism meets good international practice by being legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, compatible with human rights, embedded in the company’s procedures, and continuously improved. It will be expanded and applied for the life of the Project.

Conflict Prevention

SMFG has worked very successfully with and actively supports the three local Comités de Concertation dans les Localités Minières (CCLMs – Dialogue Committees for Mining Areas) of Lola City, Bossou and N’Zoo.

These committees consist of representatives of all different groups of local society, established to promote effective communication between the local population and mining companies, and to prevent tensions from escalating into conflict. In SMFG’s case, they have served as effective mediators when potential problems have surfaced, as well as important channels of two-way communication between the company and local people.